August 5, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Stockton Mayor Silva arrested, charges include crimes against children — Anthony Silva was arrested Thursday morning at his Mayor’s Youth Camp in Silver Lake and charged with playing strip poker with naked teenagers, providing alcohol to minors and illegally recording the activities that are said to have occurred at last year’s camp in the wee hours of Aug. 7, 2015. Stockton Record article; AP article; ‘Affadavit in case against Anthony Silva’s in Stockton Record; ‘Warrant in case against Silva’ in Stockton Record; ‘People react to arrest of ‘The People’s Mayor’ in Stockton Record; ‘SPOA, councilman call on Silva to resign’ in Stockton Record; LA Times article;Sacramento Bee article; San Francisco Chronicle article 

Stockton Record: Stockton can no longer afford to have Anthony Silva as its mayor – It’s time to end the civic embarrassment. Anthony Silva should resign as mayor of Stockton. The city no longer can afford to be stained by his public and private behavior — which ranges from childish to insidious to, possibly, criminal.Stockton Record editorial 

Michael Fitzgerald: Mayor or predatory voyeur? — Stockton’s Creep-in-Chief should resign. The investigation into Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva’s booze-soaked strip poker game with minors at Silver Lake camp last year reveals a lowlife fit neither to be mayor nor guardian of kids. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

California cap and trade could go to ballot — The fight to extend California’s climate change program could mean putting the issue before voters, a top aide to Gov. Jerry Brown said on Thursday as the governor launched a new ballot measure committee. Sacramento Bee article; Sacramento Bee editorial: ‘An initiative won’t solve climate change’; San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article

Valley politics

Modesto Bee: If Jeff Denham can’t reject Trump, we must reject him — Yes, Donald Trump is a litmus test, and Jeff Denham has failed it. Modesto Bee editorial;Video: ‘Mike Dunbar: Denham needs to answer for Trump’ in Modesto Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

The Big 5: California’s top political donors – Two are Republicans, two are Democrats and one is an independent. Four of the five are men, who say they give money to political causes that benefit society or the state’s most marginalized voters. Four live in the Bay Area and one in Southern California. All are white.Sacramento Bee article 

Dan Walters: John Chiang’s campaign money haul puts him in game against Newsom – California’s political cognoscenti took notice this week when state Treasurer John Chiang reported raising $2.3 million in the first 45 days of his campaign for governor. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Marijuana legalization campaign sues over ballot arguments — The California campaign to legalize recreational marijuana filed a lawsuit Thursday in Sacramento Superior Court asking a judge to disallow several of what it deems false or misleading statements submitted by opponents as their official ballot arguments. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; KQED report

Should 16-year-olds vote? California puts question on hold — A constitutional amendment to let California 16-year-olds vote in school board elections has halted for the year. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, wants to extend the franchise to adolescents voting in school and community college board elections, saying it would instill a civic culture that could help reverse California’s dwindling voter participation. Sacramento Bee article

Super PAC raises $1 million to boost Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate – A labor-fueled Super PAC has quietly amassed nearly $1 million this year to support Kamala Harris in her U.S. Senate bid against fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez. Sacramento Bee article

Kevin de Leon endorses Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate in California – Democrat Kamala Harris, laboring to coalesce support from California Latino leaders for her U.S. Senate bid against Rep. Loretta Sanchez, announced endorsements Thursday from Senate President Kevin de León, Sen. Ricardo Lara and former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez. Sacramento Bee article 

Another Republican endorses Loretta Sanchez for U.S. Senate – Former Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, once chairman of the Armed Services Committee, on Thursday became the latest Republican to endorse Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s campaign for U.S. Senate. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article 

Running as terror expert, Sanchez misses many anti-terror panel meetings — California U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who points to expertise in homeland security issues as a reason for Californians to elect her to the U.S. Senate this fall, has missed more than half the hearings of the House Committee on Homeland Security since she first joined the influential panel 13 years ago. Sacramento Bee article 

Joel Fox: Contrary goals of the tobacco tax — What is the tobacco tax increase for? Is the tax proposed in Proposition 56 to reduce smoking or to gain revenue? It seems the proponents’ goal is to be all things—a deterrent to smoking by raising the cost, plus raising revenue mostly for health care. Can they really have it both ways? Fox in Fox & Hounds


Young Muslim immigrant find life in Modesto largely welcoming — Moving to a different country is never easy. Consider the negative stimuli that have pushed you out of your home, the relationships you have to leave behind and the culture shock of a new country you find has xenophobic threads. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

California lawmakers move toward limiting police seizures of property without a criminal conviction – Major law enforcement groups and state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) have reached a deal on legislation to limit the ability of police in California to permanently seize cars, cash, homes and other property from suspected criminals without a conviction, potentially paving the way for California to join the growing list of states that have reined in the practice. LA Times article 

The rifles that fuel modern terror: How the AK-47 and AR-15 evolved into rifles of choice for mass killers. New York Times article 

California takes first step to establishing lane-splitting guidelines for motorcyclists — California is expected to become the first state in the nation to formalize the practice of lane splitting after state Assembly members on Thursday passed a bill authorizing the California Highway Patrol to establish guidelines for motorcyclists on how to do it safely. LA Times article 

Efforts to give big development projects environmental relief passes with Assembly with overwhelming support – A bill that would give some legal environmental relief to mega-development projects across California, which would probably include four in Los Angeles, overwhelmingly passed the Assembly on Thursday. LA Times article 

San Francisco Chinatown gang leader gets life in prison — A dapper San Francisco Chinatown gangster known as “Shrimp Boy” whose conviction on murder and racketeering charges was part of a major federal organized crime investigation that also brought down a state senator was sentenced Thursday to two life terms — one for killing a rival. AP article; San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article

Presidential Politics

Clinton surges to big lead in McClatchy-Marist poll — Hillary Clinton has surged to a 15-point lead over reeling, gaffe-plagued Donald Trump, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. Clinton made strong gains with two constituencies crucial to a Republican victory – whites and men — while scoring important gains among fellow Democrats, the poll found. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Latino leaders told ‘California is manufacturing poverty’ – The narrative that Donald Trump’s nomination to the presidency will create a “tsunami” of Latino voters who will come out to vote against him may turn into no more than a wave come November. Stockton Record article

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News Stories

Top Stories

Modesto approves police pay raises – The Modesto City Council approved Wednesday a labor agreement that calls for Modesto’s police officers and detectives to receive pay raises as much as 11.5 percent over 2 1/2 years as well as other increases that eventually will cost the city’s general fund as much as $2.44 million annually. Modesto Bee article 

Consumer group accuses refiners of keeping California gas prices unusually high – A consumer advocacy group accused oil refiners of intentionally keeping California’s gasoline prices higher than in the rest of the nation to bolster profits, despite growing inventories and falling wholesale prices. LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

 Report finds strength in Modesto food industry – The Modesto area rates high for a consultant who helps food and beverage companies decide where to set up shop. The Boyd Company Inc., in a new study on operating costs for processing plants, said Modesto’s are the lowest among five locales it analyzed in California. It also praised the area’s job-training efforts and its ability to move products by road, rail, ship and air. Modesto Bee article 

2012 overhaul of workers’ compensation has dropped employer costs – A 2012 overhaul of California’s system of compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses has moderated its employer-paid costs, but they remain, by far, the highest in the nation, according to a new study. Sacramento Bee article 

Officials: Changes, money needed for downtown Hanford – Downtown Hanford buildings are in need of many improvements, including changes to sign rules, changing the rules to allow brighter paint colors and possibly demolishing aged vacant structures, according to results of a survey presented to the City Council this week by Community Development Director Darlene Mata. Hanford Sentinel article 

Shelby Gonzales: We must bridge the Valley’s gaping digital divide – The lead staff member from the Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State responsible for the management of the San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium writes, “California residents in these rural communities will be left behind if broadband is not made available soon. Businesses will go elsewhere. Real estate values will fall. Populations will shrink. And people will not connect to the skills, education, services and opportunities that broadband affords. So on behalf of the unconnected residents of Fresno, Madera and Tulare counties, I say: We cannot wait. Approve the renewal of the California Advanced Services Fund so we can have internet for all.” Gonzales op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Hanford gets $3 for eastside sewer trunkline — United States Department of Commerce officials are delivering a $3 million check to the city of Hanford this week to pay for just under half the cost of the new eastside sewer trunkline. That line is planned to be constructed along Ninth Street. The grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration is based on job creation coming from the new Costco warehouse set to open in October. Hanford Sentinel article 

Homeland Security to Silicon Valley: We need drones – The Department of Homeland Security is hiring in Silicon Valley — for drones. Last week, technology entrepreneurs filled a Menlo Park conference room, where officials spelled out their needs — drones small and light enough to launch easily and fly over vast stretches of desert. The machines would look for questionable activity, scan faces of suspects and compare them against a database for prior criminal history. San Francisco Chronicle article 

New deal for Cache Creek casino tribe; others settle union fight – The Brown administration announced casino pacts between the state and several tribes Thursday, including a deal with the tribe that operates Cache Creek Casino Resort in Yolo County and other agreements that could end years of bad blood between some tribes and organized labor. Sacramento Bee article 

Hotel development is booming in California – maybe too much – California, like the rest of the country, is in the midst of a hotel building boom, with more than 17,000 rooms under construction and an additional 84,000 in the pipeline. The surge in development follows a years-long drought in new hotels. LA Times article 

Grocery strike averted: Workers reach tentative deal with Ralphs and Albertsons — Southern California grocery workers have reached a tentative labor agreement with the Ralphs and Albertsons chains. The move averts the immediate threat of a strike that could have roiled some of the region’s largest supermarket chains. LA Times article 

Pokemon Go craze benefits business — The quest to catch ‘em all is leading Pokémon Go players to more than just rattatas, pidgeys and the occasional Pikachu, its bringing them up to the steps of many local businesses. The Business Journal article 

Sacramento scraps lowest-bid requirement for water meter project — Firms seeking to secure contracts as part of the city of Sacramento’s water meter installation program will have to produce more than a favorable price. They also will have to meet criteria in areas of customer service and local hiring. Sacramento Bee article 


California Senate reconfirms controversial ag labor board member — Despite a concerted campaign by growers who objected to her ties to a farmworker union lobbyist, the California Senate on Thursday approved Genevieve Shiroma’s appointment to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board for a fourth time. After vocal objections from Republicans who questioned whether she could be “fair and balanced,” Shiroma was confirmed 26-11 along partisan lines. Sacramento Bee article 

Westside and Eastside farmers hope for water – Local farmers are not happy campers when it comes to federal water policy. Despite a wet year in Northern California, westside farmers have been promised only a 5 percent allocation. However, they would be plenty more unhappy if the Bureau of Reclamation had not taken recent action to shore up San Luis Reservoir, where these farmers store surface water from northern California. Visalia Times-Delta article

See which Sacramento communities are greatly increasing water use — With mandatory water use restrictions mostly lifted across the region, Sacramento-area residents are using a lot more water this summer, even as the drought continues, according to a Bee review of state data. Sacramento Bee article

Olives have become a tough business — The good news for California olive growers is prices paid by the state’s two primary canners of table olives will average slightly more than they paid last year. But this good news comes a bit late for Dave Hails, who for 15 years has operated his 40-acre olive grove southwest of Woodlake. Visalia Times-Delta article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

California wardens quit amid prison abuse, suicide claims – The wardens at California’s two major women’s prisons have retired amid allegations of pervasive problems at both institutions, including sexual abuse of female inmates at one prison and suicides at the other. Deborah Johnson, warden at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, and California Institution for Women Warden Kimberly Hughes retired last week. AP article 

Chandra Levy case upended by years of defense hard work – Prosecutors and defense attorneys both declined to speak on the record about the long-running Levy case and what could happen next, but court filings, hearing transcripts and years of reporting shed some light on the unraveling of one of the highest profile murder prosecutions in recent memory. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Should reserve police officers be able to buy assault rifles to use on the job? – A group of reserve law enforcement officers has sued Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, contending her office has improperly ended a longstanding practice of allowing them to have assault weapons while on duty. LA Times article

New Avenal warden tells women to ‘go for it’ — Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Hanford resident Rosemary Ndoh, 54, as the warden at Avenal State Prison late last month. Ndoh started her career as an educator, and with more than two decades of experience in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, has worked her way up to being the prison’s top administrator. Hanford Sentinel article 

Murder conviction in 2010 stabbing reversed due to prosecutor misstating law — A Bakersfield man’s murder conviction for the brutal stabbing of another man in 2010 has been reversed after a state appeals court ruled the prosecutor inaccurately stated the law to jurors during trial. Bakersfield Californian article 

Former LA County sheriff’s deputies lose appeal in obstruction of justice case – A federal appeals court Thursday upheld the convictions of seven former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on charges they tried to thwart an FBI investigation into county jails. LA Times article

San Francisco police union’s dog photo called insult to Black Lives Matter cause — The union representing San Francisco police officers published a photograph of two dogs in its monthly newspaper that critics say belittles the Black Lives Matter movement and raises questions about the police force’s commitment to repairing its relationship with communities of color. San Francisco Chronicle article


How much does living off-campus cost? Who knows? – College estimates of cost-of-living expenses are often inaccurate, leading some students to borrow too much, or not enough. New York Times article 

College protests stir some alumni to cut off donations – Alumni from a range of generations say they are baffled by today’s college culture. Among their laments: Students are too wrapped up in racial and identity politics. New York Times article

Fairness of Kern High School District bidding process questioned – When the Kern High School District requested bids for a public relations contract, it advertised a six- to eight-week deal with no dollar value offered — a far cry from the one-year proposal worth almost $400,000 that trustees were prepared to execute Monday with a firm it had previously employed. Bakersfield Californian article 

Name-calling, fighting frequent on ‘divided’ Los Banos school board — Recent meetings of the Los Banos Unified School District board have been characterized by nasty exchanges and even name-calling between trustees and, board members admit, it’s a problem. Trustee Marlene Smith erupted at the July 26 meeting over the unrest on the board. She accused trustees Dennis Areias and Tommy Jones of having “testosterone issues” and described the board as “a bunch of mess” and “a big pot of crap.” Los Banos Enterprise article 

Fresno Fulbright scholar prepares for Harvard, studied SARS virus in China – The prevalence of Zika virus has many health officials concerned about the athletes and audiences who will be attending the 2016 Rio Olympics. Buchanan High graduate Adam Nitido hopes that his work sequencing DNA could lead to a better understanding of viruses like Zika. Fresno Bee article 

Moving mountains: Outdoor education teaches physical, emotional strength to Valley teens — This summer, Gustavo Garcia climbed mountains. He went whitewater rafting, backpacking and hiking. He spent 24 hours alone in the Sierra backcountry, sleeping under a small tarp, fighting the urge to pee until the sun came up so he didn’t have to navigate in the darkness. But in his 40 days with Adventure Risk Challenge, the teenager’s scariest moment came during a game called “big rock, little rock,” where participants were asked to announce their biggest problems in life and then metaphorically chuck them off a mountainside. Fresno Bee article 

Resource officers to be assigned to Fresno middle schools — A partnership between the city of Fresno and Fresno Unified will deploy School and Neighborhood Resource Officers at Fresno Unified middle schools. Fresno Bee article 

Los Rios community colleges face enrollment slide as economy improves — The improved economy is taking a toll on the Los Rios Community College District. As more college-age adults have found jobs, enrollment has been flat or down for three straight years and shows no sign of changing course. Sacramento Bee article 


Fresno is the best big city for national parks — Now for a fun report from Redfin. Fresno is ranked No. 1 best big city to live in if you want to be near a national park, the technology-based real estate brokerage firm announced Monday. Woo-hoo! Fresno Bee article 

Council approves ordinance to foster Sacramento’s urban forest – An ordinance that city officials say will better protect Sacramento’s existing trees and foster expansion of the urban forest received unanimous approval from the City Council Thursday night. Sacramento Bee article 

Apple gets OK to start selling solar power from Monterey County and other sites — Apple can start reaping the fruits of its $850 million Monterey County solar power investment, along with electricity from its solar facilities in Nevada and Arizona. San Jose Mercury News article

Health/Human Services

Two babies born in California with Zika-related microcephaly — Two babies have been born with Zika-related microcephaly to mothers in California who had spent time in countries that are infested with the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, state Department of Public Health officials said Thursday. Fresno Bee article; San Francisco Chronicle article; KPPC report; LA Times article 

Tulare Regional Medical Center brings promises for support — Two years after announcing a $2 million pledge, the Tulare Wellness Foundation has yet to embark on its mission to raise financial support for Tulare Regional Medical Center and improve the health and wellness of the region. Visalia Times-Delta article

Other areas 

Carmen George: Definition of ‘injustice’ takes many forms at high-level Fresno meeting — Some of Fresno’s top faith and community leaders aimed to promote “peace, justice and human dignity in Fresno and beyond” during a panel Wednesday night at Fresno High School attended by more than 100 people. George in Fresno Bee

Survivor says Highway 99 bus crash was ‘so unreal’ — Jesus Alexander survived the horrific bus crash this week that killed four people outside Livingston. In the terrible, chaotic hours that followed the deadly crash, Alexander, a 19-year-old student from Jalisco, Mexico, was taken to a motel and was told the bus company would send another bus to pick him up and take him where he needed to go. Merced Sun-Star article

Bakersfield residents call for examination of city’s shelter, dog’s death — A Bakersfield City Council committee heard tearful testimony and passionate questions Thursday about whether the city animal shelter followed protocol when its employees euthanized an elderly Yorkshire terrier named Pumpkin. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – It took a million years to create Lake Tahoe, and less than a century and a half for humans to debase it. Climate change giveth. And to an extent that would surpass even Twain’s boundless imagination, climate change taketh away. 

Modesto Bee – Yes, Donald Trump is a litmus test, and Jeff Denham has failed it.

Sacramento Bee – It took a million years to create Lake Tahoe, and less than a century and a half for humans to debase it. Climate change giveth. And to an extent that would surpass even Twain’s boundless imagination, climate change taketh away; As the environment deteriorates, Jerry Brown is threatening a 2018 initiative to extend AB 32 and cap-and-trade. The issues would be better resolved by the Legislature.

Stockton Record – It’s time to end the civic embarrassment. Anthony Silva should resign as mayor of Stockton.